“Am I having a sense of humour failure?” I wonder, as I sit in front of my laptop, working myself into a state of righteous agitation over the viral video of the day, “Stop the Knot”.
In case you haven’t seen it already, you can watch it below:
If you can’t be bothered to watch it, or are sensibly avoiding watching it in order to avoid self-inflammation, I’ll briefly summarise.
In the opening video clip, South-African comedy duo Derick Watts & The Sunday Blues profess their hatred of the ‘topknot’, describing it as a ‘prebubescent samurai’. They then go around cutting off random unsuspecting people’s topknots, before running off as fast as possible.
Imagine how terrifying it would be to be eating lunch, and suddenly some random dude has run at you with scissors and is invading your personal space. Surely this is just barefaced assault?
After watching the video, I was annoyed, for reasons we’ll get to later, but I was also confused.
Why? Because the reason people take so badly to topknots is because they are the hipster’s hairstyle of choice. We associate them with guys who try way too hard to be edgy, without realising that by sporting such a hairstyle, they’ve merely consigned themselves into a large group of people who are actually the opposite of unique, by virtue of their shared desire to be seen as different.
Yet not once do Derick Watts and The Sunday Blues cite this as their reason for their intense hatred of the topknot. Why could this be? Well, it’s probably because they themselves are hipsters, sporting beards, backwards flat caps, stylised moustaches, long hair and plugs (stretched piercings worn in the ear) between them.
What I want to know is this: why do they think it’s ok to rock a hipster moustache but not a hipster topknot? Are one group of greasy, gelled follicles superior to another because of their placement in relation to the sun?
Hypocrisy aside, there is a far bigger problem than the dual standards in the video. Crucially, while twitter and Facebook are preoccupied by lolling at this totally banter video, the fact that someone has just altered another person’s image simply because they don’t like it get’s ignored.
I hate Derick Watt’s plugs. I don’t personally understand why people stretch their ears. To me it is unsightly and unhygienic. But am I going to go up to him and yank out the ear stretcher before running off with it giggling? No I am not. And nor is any rational and sensible human being. We may not like how others express their individuality, but the right to have one’s own image, even at the cost of irritating others, is fundamental to a happy and functional society.
You don’t like my tattoo? Fine. But don’t force me to remove it.
You don’t like my burka? Fine. But don’t rip it off me.
You don’t like my topknot? Fine. But don’t cut it off, because freedom of choice and individuality is essential, even if it’s douchey collective hipster topknot individuality.